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Full text of "A history of Persia"

THE PERSO-AFGHAN QUESTION      453
of our statesmen were directed to securing the evacuation
of Herat without inflicting a heavy blow on Persia.
Alternative schemes presented themselves to the British
military authorities. The Indian army might march
direct on Herat with a friendly and allied Afghan army.
Another plan, more difficult to execute, was to march on
Herat from Bandar Abbas. Both would have involved
immense effort and cost. It was finally decided to operate
in the Persian Gulf and at Mohamera, and in the first
instance to occupy the island of Kharak, which was seized
on the 4th of December. Five days later a force dis-
embarked near Bushire. The old Dutch fort of Reshire
was held staunchly by some Tangistanis, and four British
officers were killed while storming it. Bushire was then
bombarded and surrendered.1
In January, 1857, Sir James Outram assumed command
and determined to attack a Persian force which was re-
ported to be holding Borazjun, distant forty-six miles
from Bushire in the direction of Shiraz. The strong
British column found the formidable fort unoccupied,
the enemy having fled panic-stricken without removing
their munitions or camp equipage. Outram, being un-
provided with transport, could not risk being entangled
in the difficult defiles, and consequently, after blowing
up the Persian magazine, began a night march back to
Bushire. The Persian General, made aware of the re-
tirement by the explosion of 40,000 Ibs. of gunpowder,
pursued the British force, which he overtook in the dark
at Khushab and briskly attacked with artillery fire.2 At
dawn the British cavalry and artillery advanced. The
execution done by the artillery shook the Persian army,
and the 3rd Bombay Light Cavalry charged a regiment
and rode through it, sabring the men. Outram fell from
his horse and was stunned, and this accident caused some
delay in the advance of the British infantry, so that the
1  A Persian friend, now over eighty years of age, has described to me how he fled
from Bushire in charge of his mother and sisters, and was robbed by fugitive Persian
soldiers  at  Ahmadi, the first stage out of the town.     His father, the Karguzar^
or Foreign Office Agent, was taken to India, where he appears to have been well
treated.
2  The best account of this action is given by the late General (then Lieut.) Eallard
in Blackwood's Magazine for 1861.